Report: Arizona pension system faces $13 billion shortfall - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

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Report: Arizona pension system faces $13 billion shortfall

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Defined Contribution and Retirement Study Committee at their meeting Tuesday. Defined Contribution and Retirement Study Committee at their meeting Tuesday.
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

A 13-member, bi-partisan committee met Tuesday at the state Capitol to review all pension plan options and try to find a way to dig out of the $13 billion hole Arizona is facing.

Public workers are worried, saying the current pension plan they have is more stable than other options on the table.

"When you retire, you know that you will have a certain income depending on your salary and the number of years you worked and you will have that for the rest of your life, and that's very comforting when you're retired," said Sigrid Whitman with the All Arizona School Retirees Association.

But State Treasurer Doug Ducey, who chairs the committee, said some changes may be in order to alleviate the burden on the state.

"The good news is we have $35 billion in assets," Ducey said. "The bad news is we have $48 billion in liabilities. That's a $13 billion gap that needs to be closed."

They said an unstable stock market is a large contributing factor to the massive shortfall. 

"We've suffered through two very difficult market years in the last 10 years, so the market should come back to a certain degree, at the same time we're pushing off the risk to others that we should be looking for a way to mitigate," Ducey said.

The committee will meet once more in December before sending a final report to the governor by the end of the year. Some of the committee's recommendations may require changing statutes already on the books.

A Pew Center on the States and Laura and John Arnold Foundation report released Monday said the $13 billion is almost $1 billion more than the revenue delivered by Arizona's entire tax system in 2011.

[Click here to read full report (PDF)]

The report also states that changes made to the pension system in 2005 and 2010 helped, but didn't solve the issue.

Stay with cbs5az.com for updates on this developing story.

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